‘Motel Destino’ Teaser: Sex Slithers, Snakes Convulse, and Raves Corrupt an Erotic Hotel in Sneak Peak at Karim Aïnouz’s Thriller

Karim Aïnouz is harnessing the sweaty desire of corruption for his latest erotic thriller “Motel Destino.”

The Brazilian filmmaker returns to his native country for the feature, which was shot entirely in Aïnouz’s homeland of Ceará. “Motel Destino” stars Iago Xavier and Nataly Rocha, who were selected from an extensive casting process, and renowned Brazilian actor Fabio Assunção.

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Per the official synopsis, neon-hued Motel Destino is a roadside sex hotel under the burning blue skies of the Northeastern coast of Brazil, run by the boorish Elias and his frustrated, beautiful wife Dayana. When 21-year-old Heraldo finds himself at the motel, after messing up a hit and going on the run from both the police and the gang he let down, Dayana finds herself intrigued and lets him stay. As the two navigate a dance of power, desire and liberation, a dangerous plan for freedom emerges. In this tropical noir, loyalties and desires intertwine, revealing that destiny has its own enigmatic design.

The script was written by Wislan Esmeraldo, in collaboration with director Aïnouz and Mauricio Zacharias, Aïnouz’s long-time writing partner from “Madame Satã” and “Love for Sale.”

“Motel Destino” debuts at Cannes 2024 in competition. Last year, Aïnouz’s English-language debut “Firebrand” starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law also premiered in competition. “Motel Destino” is Aïnouz’s sixth Cannes premiere, with his 2019 feature “Invisible Life” winning the Un Certain Regard award.

“Today is a day for celebration. To return to Cannes with a film that is so close to my heart is an immense joy, a two-fold journey home,” Aïnouz said in a press statement to IndieWire. “‘Motel Destino’ is an unquenchable, fervent, and sensual tale. I’ve been given the chance to immerse myself in the exploration of fresh aesthetic and dramatic avenues. Beneath Ceará’s unforgiving sun, I’ve ventured to conjure a new film, infused with sweat, desire, elation, and the raw vitality of those who are truly hungry to exist.”

“Motel Destino” is a Cinema Inflamável and Gullane production and was co-produced internationally by Maneki Films (France), The Match Factory (Germany), in association with Brouhaha Entertainment and Written Rock Films (UK). The Brazilian co-producers are Globo Filmes, Telecine and Canal Brasil. The production was supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde – CNC, MedienboardBerlin-Brandenburg, and the Department of Culture of the State of Ceará. Tandem Films is handling the French distribution, Brouhaha/Written Rock are handling the UK rights, and The Match Factory is handling worldwide sales.

Fellow Aïnouz collaborator cinematographer Hélène Louvart is back following their work together on “Firebrand” and “Invisible Life.” Production was headed by Janaina Bernardes from Cinema Inflamável, Bernardes and Aïnouz’s production outfit, and Fabiano Gullane and Caio Gullane from Gullane, one of Brazil’s leading production outlets. Aïnouz is repped by Canivello Talentos (Brazil), Lark Agency (Europe), and Creative Artists Agency (United States).

Aïnouz’s second English-language feature will be “Rosebushpruning” will star Kristen Stewart, Josh O’Connor, and Elle Fanning.

“Motel Destino” premieres in competition at Cannes. Check out the teaser below.

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